Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Fatima, central Portugal, on Friday (13 May) to celebrate the anniversary of what's become known as the Miracle of Fatima.
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Fatima, central Portugal, on Friday (13 May) to celebrate the anniversary of what's become known as the Miracle of Fatima. In 1917, three shepherd children reportedly saw a vision of the Virgin Mary there.
SYNOPSIS: This year, as usual, worshippers came to the cathedral at Fatima from near and far; this is one of the holiest pilgrimages for Roman Catholics. The faithful draw near to the Apparitions Chapel, which commemorates the vision, on their hands and knees. The Virgin Mary is said to have appeared here before the children as the Lady of the Rosary, and asked that a chapel be built for her. Now, pilgrims traditionally visit the shrine twice a year.
An image of the Virgin Mary was brought for the celebrations. It had travelled through Rome, Vienna, Budapest, Warsaw, Berlin, Lourdes, and other cities.
There have been numerous reports of the sick being cured at the shrine, and now the ill and the infirm come to be blessed and to pray for a cure for themselves. Cardinal Patriarch Antonio Ribeiro of Lisbon, Head of the Roman Catholic Church in Portugal, officiated at the celebrations.
It was not until 1930, seventeen years after the reported visions, that the Church officially recognised them. Now, Fatima is a major Catholic shrine. Pope Paul gave Mass here eleven years ago, on the fiftieth anniversary of the miracle.
Many pilgrims walk hundreds of miles to Fatima for the celebrations, to follow the statue of the Virgin Mary as it is borne to the shrine.